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SABRES SEARCHING FOR THE RIGHT FIT

The NHL's UFA market opens for business this Friday

Tuesday, 07.02.2013 / 3:50 PM / News
By Chris Ryndak  - Sabres.com (@chrisryndak)
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SABRES SEARCHING FOR THE RIGHT FIT
The Buffalo Sabres plan on having a younger roster next season and hope to continue to bolster their core this summer. Teams can meet and speak with unrestricted free agents starting at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, but are not able to sign a player to a contract until Friday at Noon. General manager Darcy Regier told the media Tuesday morning at First Niagara Center that the team will look to take advantage of talking with free agents.\r\n

The Buffalo Sabres plan on having a younger roster next season and hope to continue to bolster their core this summer.

Teams can meet and speak with unrestricted free agents starting at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, but are not able to sign a player to a contract until Friday at Noon. General manager Darcy Regier told the media Tuesday morning at First Niagara Center that the team will look to take advantage of talking with free agents.

The fit may be positional; it may be character; it may be to add some scoring if we need some scoring depending on whether or not we get involved in the trade market.Darcy Regier

“The focus is going to be on supporting this younger group, this younger core group. And certainly you want good players, but you want players that are committed to being professionals, being examples, being contributors,” Regier said. “Those are the most important characteristics and the most important things we can do organizationally to make sure we progress in the direction we need to go.”

Regier said that the front office is looking for the right type of player that meets their needs.

“It means fit. And the fit may be positional; it may be character; it may be to add some scoring if we need some scoring depending on whether or not we get involved in the trade market, which is forming now that the draft is over a little more,” Regier said.

Development camp for prospects will open Wednesday July 10. The three-day camp will conclude with a 4 p.m. scrimmage on Friday, July 12. (CLICK TO PURCHASE TICKETS) All of Buffalo’s picks from the 2013 draft are expected to attend, according to Kevin Devine, the director of amateur scouting. Forwards Johan Larsson and Joel Armia have prior commitments scheduled and have been excused.

The Sabres are looking to diversify their defensive pairings and already have three right-handed shots on the roster in Tyler Myers, Mark Pysyk and the recently-acquired Jamie McBain. That might make it difficult for 2013 first-round pick Rasmus Ristolainen to make the roster out of camp, but Devine said it also depends on the work he puts in.

“We’re going to give [Ristolainen] every opportunity,” Devine said. “He is 18. He’s got three guys that have proven they can play in the NHL [ahead of him]. We’ll just see at training camp.”

Sabres coach Ron Rolston has a relationship with McBain that stems from their involvement in the U.S. national team development program. Buffalo acquired McBain and the 35th overall pick (J.T. Compher) from the Carolina Hurricanes during Sunday’s draft for defenseman Andrej Sekera.

“[McBain is] a good puck mover and can play on your power play unit, probably the second one. He had a tough year last year,” Regier said. “…We look for him to get back on track career-wise.”

Restricted free agent Cody Hodgson has been tendered a contract, according to Regier and said he is waiting to hear back from Hodgson’s agent.

Regier also noted that center Mikhail Grigorenko will be on the Sabres’ roster next season as they will not send him to juniors and he is not eligible to play in the AHL. They also hope to re-sign forward Matt Ellis and make him the captain in Rochester if he isn’t playing with the Sabres.

Defensemen Adam Pardy and Alexander Sulzer will test the waters of unrestricted free agency come July 5.

Regier said he continues to have conversations with the agents of goaltender Ryan Miller and leading scorer Thomas Vanek about their options moving forward.

“It would be fair to characterize that I’m actively finding out what the [trade] marketplace is like and it’s not limited to those two players,” Regier said.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82